The Chancellor of the Exchequer has reportedly backed an eight-hour ban on night flights at Heathrow if a third runway went ahead – 90 minutes longer than the proposed ban.

Phillip Hammond MP urged his constituents to call for tough conditions if a third runway was built at a packed public meeting in Englefield Green on Friday evening (March 31).

Campaigners opposing another runway at the airport welcomed Mr Hammond’s backing.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, Heathrow Association for Controlling Aircraft Noise, said: “It is significant that a politician as senior as Philip Hammond has called for an eight-hour night flight ban.

“It will increase the pressure on both his own Government and Heathrow to look again at the six -and-a-half hour ban they are offering if a third runway goes ahead.”

There are currently 16 scheduled flights allowed at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am – all arrivals with the first one landing at 4.30am. Between 6am and 7am there are 70 flights.

The Airports Commission, which originally recommended a third runway, argued that there would be spare capacity on a new runway to allow these flights to land after 6am.

John Stewart added: “HACAN remains opposed to a third runway but, if it comes about, the extra capacity it provides should be used so that an eight- hour night becomes the norm for all communities.”

The government confirmed its preference for increasing airport capacity in the south east through the north west runway at Heathrow in October.

From January: Zac Goldsmith to lead four-borough campaign against Heathrow expansion

From March: Anti-Heathrow expansion campaigners step up fight against third runway with 'breakthrough' coalition announcement

Four boroughs affected by the decision and campaign groups have since formed coalitions opposing the Heathrow expansion.